Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley.
s, would receive her friends that evening. Matching his own craft against those wily Norman minds, he replied to the questions put to him on the nature of Madame de Dey's illness in a manner that hoodwinked the community. He related to a gouty old dame, that Madame de Dey had almost died of a sudden attack of gout in the stomach, but had been relieved by a remedy which the famous doctor, Tronchin, had once recommended to her,--namely, to apply the skin of a freshly-flayed hare on the pit of the stomach, and to remain in bed without making the slightest movement for two days. This tale had prodigious success, and the doctor of Carentan, a royalist "in petto," increased its effect by the manner in which he discussed the remedy.
Nevertheless, suspicions had taken too strong a root in the minds of some obstinate persons, and a few philosophers, to be thus dispelled; so that all Madame de Dey's usual visitors came eagerly and early that evening to watch her countenance: some out of true friendship, but most of
During the French Revolution, when aristocrats were having their heads removed, a widowed countess settles on her small estate near a country village. She invites the town leaders--including the revolutionary prosecutor--to her dinners to curry their favour.
One day she gets word her son would attempt to escape prison and get to her in disguise.
The translation is a little stuffy considering people's lives are endangered. Balzac knows how to tell a story.